Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby Coyote » Thu May 29, 2014 6:25 pm

Rules: Cards are dealt, each person has to get rid of their cards by placing down as many as possible that are the same, or one below or above as the previous, saying as one does so the relevant rank and number of cards, e.g 3 sevens. One can obviously lie (cheat) by putting down different cards than the ones that you have said. I think it does, but what do others think?
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby Mkoll » Thu May 29, 2014 6:30 pm

It may or may not break the fourth precept. But either way, no one likes a cheater. Games need a level playing field so that the person with the most skill and luck wins.

Unless everybody is cheating. In that case, it's part of the game, like steroids in the NFL. :tongue:
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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby waterchan » Thu May 29, 2014 6:46 pm

Does attempting to win a game through deception break the fourth precept? Absolutely.

Does attempting to win a game based on deception through deception, such as poker, break the fourth precept? That's something to ponder...
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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby Mkoll » Thu May 29, 2014 6:57 pm

Not playing games specifically listed as part of the higher virtue in the Brahmajala Sutta (DN 1).

Having played and watched a lot of poker in the past, I'd say that playing it provokes defilement.

Just look at Phil Hellmuth, one of the better players in the world. :jumping:

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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Thu May 29, 2014 7:08 pm

May I give a brutally honest opinion?

It depends how 'anal' you wish to be.

It's a game, for goodness' sake, everyone's playing by the same rules, and unless you're a monk - well, let your hair down and just have fun....!
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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby Coyote » Fri May 30, 2014 11:40 am

I don't doubt that this is somewhat a trivial offence, there are much worse lies. But "white lies" would also break the fourth precept, at least if we adhere to the traditional definition, which as I understand it has these factors:

1) You must know that what is being said is untrue, false speech
2) you must say it
3) others must hear and understand the lie

Saying "three sevens" when these are not the cards that are being put down would fulfill these factors.
I also think the line becomes less clear when there is no "false speech" involved, although it may still be akusala. I don't know how poker works so I am unsure if this would break the precept.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Fri May 30, 2014 11:48 am

Look it's up to you;
How stringent do you think you need to be, really?

The choice as ever, ultimately, is up to you.

What harm is it doing? Really?

As I have seen it said: "If it feels ok, do it. When in doubt - don't."
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You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby waterchan » Fri May 30, 2014 12:13 pm

Mkoll wrote:Not playing games specifically listed as part of the higher virtue in the Brahmajala Sutta (DN 1).

Having played and watched a lot of poker in the past, I'd say that playing it provokes defilement.

Any kind of game involving direct competition with opponents provokes defilement. I used to play a lot of competitive online multiplayer games. Not conducive to inner peace by any means :tongue:
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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby Kim OHara » Fri May 30, 2014 12:35 pm

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:Look it's up to you;
How stringent do you think you need to be, really?

The choice as ever, ultimately, is up to you.

What harm is it doing? Really?

As I have seen it said: "If it feels ok, do it. When in doubt - don't."

Agreed.
If it's a game, and everyone is playing it fairly and happily, then it is a generally Good Thing.
If this game is based upon 'cheating' and 'lying' and those activities are part of the rules, there is no real cheating or lying going on.
The only reasons to avoid the game, then, will be the reasons against playing any games or indulging in any entertainment ... basically, that they are distractions from the path. But "Avoid Games" is not one of the five precepts for lay people, is it?

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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby Coyote » Fri May 30, 2014 4:19 pm

TheNoBSBuddhist wrote:ook it's up to you;
How stringent do you think you need to be, really?

The choice as ever, ultimately, is up to you.

What harm is it doing? Really?

As I have seen it said: "If it feels ok, do it. When in doubt - don't."


The harm is that one is speaking with the intention to deceive others. To me that does not feel right, but consciences can be under the influence of delusion.

Kim OHara wrote:If this game is based upon 'cheating' and 'lying' and those activities are part of the rules, there is no real cheating or lying going on.


Why do you think this is the case, Kim? If you say something you know is untrue, intending others to believe it as true, how is that not false speech?
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Fri May 30, 2014 4:23 pm

You are SOOO over-thinking this.

It's - a - game! That's ALL!
You're all doing the same thing, for fun, as a pastime, just for entertainment, camaraderie, bonding, enjoyment....it's not something that will put your head on a block and sentence you to death, or worse!

It's just some temporary fun!

If it bothers you that much - don't play it!!
Simple, and sorted!

If you don't want to lie, don't play!

How difficult do you want to make this for yourself?

And more pertinently - why?
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby Coyote » Fri May 30, 2014 4:28 pm

The reason I am making difficulties is that it is somewhat of a family pastime. As I mentioned earlier, I don't feel comfortable lying in this case and offered to play a different card game. I wanted to check whether others thought I was being too strict. This seems to be the case for many posters here, but I still don't feel comfortable playing it.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Fri May 30, 2014 5:03 pm

well, there's your answer then. Don't play it.
And if they ask you why you won't (which of course, they almost probably will) you will naturally tell them the truth.

After all, that's the whole point, no?
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby Mkoll » Fri May 30, 2014 5:30 pm

waterchan wrote:
Mkoll wrote:Not playing games specifically listed as part of the higher virtue in the Brahmajala Sutta (DN 1).

Having played and watched a lot of poker in the past, I'd say that playing it provokes defilement.

Any kind of game involving direct competition with opponents provokes defilement. I used to play a lot of competitive online multiplayer games. Not conducive to inner peace by any means :tongue:

I have similar experience and I totally agree.
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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby culaavuso » Fri May 30, 2014 8:14 pm

Coyote wrote:I don't doubt that this is somewhat a trivial offence, there are much worse lies. But "white lies" would also break the fourth precept, at least if we adhere to the traditional definition, which as I understand it has these factors:

1) You must know that what is being said is untrue, false speech
2) you must say it
3) others must hear and understand the lie

Saying "three sevens" when these are not the cards that are being put down would fulfill these factors.
I also think the line becomes less clear when there is no "false speech" involved, although it may still be akusala. I don't know how poker works so I am unsure if this would break the precept.


The statement "three sevens" in this case seems to be a performative utterance rather than a statement of truth describing the world. Another way to interpret this is that in the context of the rules, the expanded statement is not "these cards are three sevens", but rather "I promise to pick up all the cards in the middle if challenged and these cards are not three sevens". This latter statement is not untrue and does not deceive the other players.
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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Fri May 30, 2014 8:20 pm

I say, culaavuso, what a notable and worthwhile comment you make!
"Performative utterance"...!

That's worth filing in my 'miscellaneous' mental file, and holding onto for future reference....

How very clever!

Thank you for that!


:bow:


:namaste:
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby Kim OHara » Sat May 31, 2014 2:11 am

culaavuso wrote:
Coyote wrote:I don't doubt that this is somewhat a trivial offence, there are much worse lies. But "white lies" would also break the fourth precept, at least if we adhere to the traditional definition, which as I understand it has these factors:

1) You must know that what is being said is untrue, false speech
2) you must say it
3) others must hear and understand the lie

Saying "three sevens" when these are not the cards that are being put down would fulfill these factors.
I also think the line becomes less clear when there is no "false speech" involved, although it may still be akusala. I don't know how poker works so I am unsure if this would break the precept.


The statement "three sevens" in this case seems to be a performative utterance rather than a statement of truth describing the world. Another way to interpret this is that in the context of the rules, the expanded statement is not "these cards are three sevens", but rather "I promise to pick up all the cards in the middle if challenged and these cards are not three sevens". This latter statement is not untrue and does not deceive the other players.

Excellent!
:jumping:

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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby Kim OHara » Sat May 31, 2014 2:22 am

Mkoll wrote:
waterchan wrote:
Mkoll wrote:Not playing games specifically listed as part of the higher virtue in the Brahmajala Sutta (DN 1).

Having played and watched a lot of poker in the past, I'd say that playing it provokes defilement.

Any kind of game involving direct competition with opponents provokes defilement. I used to play a lot of competitive online multiplayer games. Not conducive to inner peace by any means :tongue:

I have similar experience and I totally agree.

I think it's a question of ego-involvement and of motivation. I play a competitive sport for exercise and fun (in that order) and I have reached a point at which I genuinely enjoy a good competitive game which I lose more than I enjoy an easy game which I win, and I am genuinely as happy (or very nearly :tongue: ) for my opponent's victories as for any of my own.
It can be done!
But some games are less conducive to it than others. Playing in a team with people whose motivations are poor would make it difficult to play the way I prefer to play. Likewise playing a game or sport which deliberately inflicts pain, e.g. boxing or wrestling, or any game played for significant amounts of money - which inflicts a different kind of pain, I guess.

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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby palchi » Sat May 31, 2014 7:11 am

Playing games as a family is great - nice for bonding and much better than slumping down in front of the TV.

If you don't like playing the current family favourite - why don't you just go an buy a new one or introduce a new game using the same cards. UNO, Rommee or whatever - there are many that are about luck, speed or skill.
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Re: Does the card game "cheat" break the fourth precept?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sat May 31, 2014 7:13 am

Most card games require concealment and subterfuge. Is this lying by omission....?
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You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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